Live with Gratitude
“It is not happiness that brings us gratitude. It is gratitude that brings us happiness”
I am going to jump right into it today. I would like you to reflect briefly on the following two questions; How do you express gratitude? How do you see others expressing gratitude? You may prefer to answer these questions now before continuing to read. One of the most beneficial characteristics, values, and habits to learn today is the expression of gratitude. Gratitude produces incredible results on your psyche, the way you show up in the world, and how you see yourself and others.
Looking back on what you answered to the two previous mentioned questions, how do you express gratitude? The most common answer of how one expresses gratitude towards others and themselves is through the words “Thank You”. And sometimes, people don’t even say that to themselves. Was this your answer? Was this your only answer? Do you want to learn how to become more grateful and what the benefits of gratitude are? Then keep reading, Beautiful 🙂
Gratitude is the human way of acknowledging good things in life. It has a healing effect on us, it can enlighten the mind and make us feel happier, therefore, its benefits are endless. Expressions of gratitude help build long lasting relationships, and help you bounce back from challenges with motivation and strength. Gratitude is the ultimate prescription for living a happy and fulfilled life.
What are ways you can express more gratitude today?
One of the most popular “techniques”, so to speak, is keeping a gratitude journal. It can be a little notebook where you write 3-5 things you feel grateful for in the morning when you wake up. Include writing 3-5 things at night before you go to bed, where you reflect on what you feel grateful for what happened today. I write the words “feel grateful for” instead of “are grateful for” because it’s important that you truly feel it in the moment. In order to get the benefits of gratitude, breathe it in completely, feel the gratitude washing over you, feel your heart get lighter and flutter with happiness. Perhaps you even feel a small tug on each corner of your mouth, forming a beautiful, grateful smile.
Perhaps you don’t know what to be grateful for. If so, try asking yourself what or who you have lost. That may spark feeling of gratitude because no matter who or what you have lost, you are still blessed to have everything and everyone else in your life. It’s easy to focus on what you don’t have, especially when it’s someone you no longer have. If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, you can find gratitude in how they made your life and this world better. Or perhaps you are having difficulty truly feeling grateful for the moments, things, or people in your life. If so, ask yourself why you are grateful for these things. Is it because you know no matter who you are, or what you have, someone else may have more than you but for sure, a lot more people have less than you? Don’t give yourself to the feeling of jealousy, instead relish and surrender yourself into the feeling of gratitude. Even though it’s harder, it’s much more lively, positive and beneficial for you to focus on what/who you already have than the absence of such. You may reflect on the following quote I have included below:
“Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough” – Oprah Winfrey
When we express gratitude and receive gratitude, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin (two essential neurotransmitters responsible for emotions) and they make us feel positive emotions. By consciously practicing gratitude every day, we can help strengthen our neural pathways and ultimately create a permanent, positive and grateful nature within ourselves. Social psychologists believe gratitude to be intertwined with the perception of what we have done for others and what others have done for us. Gratitude releases toxic emotions, reduces pain, anxiety and depression. As well as, improves sleep quality and aids in stress regulation. Expressing gratitude consistently with feeling, literally changes the neural structures of the brain, making us feel more content throughout our days with ease. By expressing gratitude, we are telling are brains to automatically pay attention to what we have, redirecting old habits focusing on what we don’t have.
It’s important to make a habit out of writing down what you are grateful for. It’s also important that you don’t make it a habit to write emotionless, or to write the same thing down each day unless you truly feel grateful for it each day. Focus on the unique things that each new day brings. Whether that’s the warm hug from the sun you feel when sunbathing or the rain falling on the windows as you drift to a deep sleep. Perhaps it’s the good conversations or laughs you experience with friends or family at meals. Maybe it’s a good work out, good movie night, the birds singing, or the crickets chirping. By doing so, this produces a strong awareness of the present. Which will make you grateful for the smallest of things, becoming a happier person than before.
Grateful people can derive more happiness and pleasure in daily life. The effects of practicing gratitude are not immediate. However, as we continue to express gratitude, it impacts our physical and psychological well-being for years. “By consciously practicing gratitude, we essentially are training our brain to perform selectivity of positive emotions and thought, thus reducing feeling of anxiety and depression. Studies show that people who practiced gratitude journaling, were found happier and emotionally stronger than others.” As described in “The Neuroscience of Gratitude…” by Positive Psychology.
“Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have”
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Remember to subscribe to our Newsletter to be notified when new features and products are available. Thank you for supporting me through this new journey to help ordinary teens become extraordinary people, leaders and inspirations. Feel free to contact me and share with me your experiences with this exercise and past blog exercises.
With much love and gratitude to all my supporters!